David Cameron has delivered a snub to the Austrian Chancellor over his attempts to derail Britain’s first nuclear power station for 20 years. Werner Faymann, the Austrian Chancellor, attempted to hand Mr Cameron a letter of protest shortly before a European summit in Brussels this week. Mr Cameron, however, refused to accept it and told him to instead “respect Britain’s energy choices”.
Telegraph 13th Feb 2015 read more »
The Government has backed a call to the senior European official responsible for energy policy to insist that the UK must remain able to build new nuclear plants amid a growing diplomatic row with Austria over the Hinkley Point C project. The Prime Minister refused to accept a letter the Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann tried to hand to him at this week’s meeting of European leaders in Brussels in connection with the dispute and told him no other country could dictate the UK’s energy policy. It is understood that the letter from Mr Faymann questioned whether a threat had been made that the UK-Austrian relationship would be damaged by Vienna’s plan to mount a legal challenge against the European Commission’s decision to approve the funding deal for the new nuclear power station in Somerset.
Press and Journal 14th Feb 2015 read more »
You may have read in the press that Austria is making a principled stand against new nuclear build in the UK. We have written to the Austrian Ambassador to thank him. It would encourage the Austrians in their courageous stance if more people were to write. Please feel free to use the letter below as a template to tell the Austrian government how we feel.
Radiation Free Lakeland 13th Feb 2015 read more »
UK ministers have fired a warning shot to their Austrian counterparts that unless a lawsuit against public subsidies for the new Hinkley Point nuclear power plant is dropped there would be ‘retaliatory’ measures.
Building 13th Feb 2015 read more »
The final decision on whether to go ahead with a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset has been delayed. EDF Energy originally set a deadline of the end of March to make its final investment decision. It now says that will only be possible in the next few months. Chinese partners are putting in 40% of the £24 billion needed. They’re still in negotiations with EDF and the Government over the underwriting of the debt.
ITV 13th Feb 2015 read more »
EDF’s Hinkley investment decision has been delayed, despite assurances earlier this week that the decision would be made in March.
Burnham-on-sea 12th Feb 2015 read more »
Over 50 years after the Windscale-Sellafield disaster caused milk in a 200 sq. mile area to be officially too radioactive to drink, and milk brought in from elsewhere, as recounted in the “Atomic Milk” documentary, Cumbria remains a major milk producer for the UK. Above the cows are grazing on the site of the proposed Moorside Nuclear Power Station, near Sellafield in Cumbria, UK. Lillyhall, to the north, lost the chance for a Dutch cheese factory-showroom because Swedish Studsvik applied for a nuclear waste processing facility, next door, at the same time. Note, as well, that there won’t always be someplace else from which to bring in the milk, as the world is increasingly contaminated with long-lived radiation-contamination.
Mining Awareness 13th Feb 2015 read more »
Household can openers costing less than £15 each are to be used in a £10m facility at the Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness. The kitchen tool will be used to open soup tin-sized cans that have held radioactive material for more than 30 years. It will take workers three years to process all the cans. Dounreay is being decommissioned and the site cleaned up in a project costing £1.6bn. Two types of can openers – one made in Germany and other Switzerland – are being trialled before being put to use at the new processing facility. The openers are the latest low cost solution to handling Dounreay’s toxic legacy.
BBC 13th Feb 2015 read more »
The Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety has been unanimously adopted by the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS). The Declaration, which is part of an ongoing international effort to strengthen nuclear safety in the wake of the Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan, was approved by consensus by the Contracting Parties to the CNS at a Diplomatic Conference held on 9 February 2015 at the Vienna headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Conference was called to consider a proposal by Switzerland to amend Article 18 of the CNS related to the design and construction of nuclear installations.
IAEA 10th Feb 2015 read more »
South Africa’s government is forging ahead with plans to spend as much as 1 trillion rand ($85 billion) on new nuclear plants, ignoring objections from environmental activists, opposition parties, unions and even its own advisers. Bids will be sought from the U.S., China, France, Russia and South Korea to add 9,600 megawatts of atomic power to the national grid to address energy shortages in Africa’s second-largest economy, President Jacob Zuma said in his annual state-of-the-nation address Thursday. The first output is targeted for 2023, he said.
Bloomberg 13th Feb 2015 read more »
Finland – radwaste
FINNISH regulators have given final approval to a plan to build a nuclear waste depository and processing plant beneath Olkiluoto Island. The plan calls for spent nuclear fuel from the nuclear power plants of Teollisuuden Voima and Fortum to be packed in copper canisters and then embedded in the bedrock beneath the island at a depth of up to 450 m. After several years considering the proposal, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland (STUK) has told the government that the facility “can be built to be safe.”
Chemical Engineer 13th Feb 2015 read more »
Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has given approval to Kansai Electric Power to resume operations of 3 and 4 reactors of the Takahama nuclear power plant located in Fukui Prefecture. The move marks a step ahead for returning nuclear power to the country following the Fukushima disaster of 2011, which led to the shutdown of all nuclear facilities. The safety report has been approved by NRA as the idled reactors comply with the new and stricter safety standards for nuclear facilities, reports Kuwait News Agency.
Energy Business Review 13th Feb 2015 read more »
US – radwaste
In an extraordinary row over responsibility for fines levied by New Mexico on the US Energy Department, New Mexico state officials are threatening to impose even more fines if the Energy Department doesn’t accept responsibility for ‘numerous violations’ described in statutory Compliance Orders issued by the state last year. The row stems from a February 2014 accident at the federal government’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico. The facility was closed for cleanup after a container of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory ruptured, exposing 22 workers and parts of the underground waste dump to contamination. New Mexico levied over more than $54 million in fines, on the Energy Department and its contractors, following the leak, which the Energy Department is contesting, described the penalties as “capricious,” and saying they should be either reduced or forgiven. Its attitude is reminiscent of a much earlier time when the national government was considered legally infallible and could not therefore be prosecuted for any crime or mistake.
Modern Power Systems 13th Feb 2015 read more »
The Church of England is preparing to publish an extraordinary document advising Christians on voting in the general election. The document – which will provoke yet another row with the Government – suggests Trident should be scrapped, proposes more EU integration and questions parts of the Coalition’s austerity programme.
Daily Mail 14th Feb 2015 read more »
Renewables – wind
A row has broken out within the wind power industry over the future of small wind farm installations in the UK, and the subsidies that should be paid to them. According to a report from the IPPR thinktank, widely reported in the media (in the FT, Times, Mail and Channel 4 News), about 100 wind turbines are receiving an unfair level of subsidy by exploiting a provision in the subsidy regime. The thinktank has estimated that each of the turbines in question could be receiving £100,000 a year in “excess” subsidies as a result, amounting to about £10m. But the government, the regulator Ofgem and the wind industry have rejected the claims. A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “This report is based on incorrect and second-hand information – the numbers just don’t add up.”
Guardian 13th Feb 2015 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News: Energy storage updates; Plymouth Community Energy: Braintree Council goes solar; Network Rail could produce 2.44GW of solar; Hereford could go for community solar on a landfill.
Microgen Scotland 13th Feb 2015 read more »
David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have signed a joint pledge to tackle climate change, which they say will protect the UK’s national security and economic prosperity. The leaders’ pledge is “to accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy-efficient low-carbon economy and to end the use of unabated coal for power generation.” The UK green economy has grown strongly, even during the years after the global economic crisis in 2008, and employs about a million people, but has been hit by political uncertainty due to rows over wind farms and solar power.
Guardian 14th Feb 2015 read more »
Coal-fired power plants will be shut down and Britain will bind itself to tough new targets for cutting emissions, according to a joint statement signed by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband.
Times 14th Feb 2015 read more »
Many of the world’s nations want this year’s Paris climate talks to aim for net-zero emissions, so that the world becomes climate neutral later this century. Achieving near-zero emissions in the second half of this century is central to the Paris deal, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said today at the close of UN climate talks in Geneva. A long-term net-zero goal would provide a new focus for international action, which has so far aimed to limit warming to no more than two degrees above pre-industrial temperatures. Emissions can be measured and controlled directly, whereas the link between temperatures and dangerous warming is complex. Yet the concept of a net-zero emissions goal is by no means a done deal. It has been expressed in many ways, including 15 different versions in the latest draft of the Paris climate text, published late last night. Carbon Brief explains what net-zero means, how it could work and what a target might look like.
Carbon Brief 13th Feb 2015 read more »